The Responsibility of Being Sober

When the late George Bernard Shaw quoted, “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future,” perhaps he did not realize how important those words could be for someone recovering from drug addiction. Throughout the ages, regardless of time and place, society has set certain standards and expectations for its people is deemed necessary in order to uphold a functioning community and state. A normal, healthy adult is expected to have a paying job, pay their share of expenses, and carry out their fair share of duties. But there is so much more to consider when recovering from substance abuse.

Responsibility goes deeper than just how productive we are in society. It’s also about personal responsibility. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship since it is the root of everything we think, say, and do. How we perceive personal responsibility is key in the recovery process as well as re-entering everyday life after rehab. Personal responsibility is understanding and accepting we have a role in society to upkeep and taking care of our physical and psychological wellbeing is part of this umbrella. It also means not blaming others for our mishaps and knowing that our thoughts and attitude make all the difference.

What Does Being Responsible for My Thoughts and Attitude Look Like?

No one can escape responsibility. Many will push the boundaries for as long as possible: the teenager who wants the freedom of staying out late but not the responsibility of paying bills or the 40-year-old male or female still sleeping in the basement of their mother’s house waiting for breakfast to be served. We all progress and mature at different rates. A lot of times we have given in to fear-based thoughts and have taken on the role of the victim. We don’t have control over every thought that crosses our mind but we do have control over how we react to them. Giving too much attention to fear-based thoughts is like accepting an invitation to a pity-party. Many of these thoughts will just leave on their own when they are recognized as unproductive and fear-based, such as I am not good enough or I will never heal from this addiction. It’s crucial to not allow thoughts like these to resonate with our core being and it is our responsibility to replace them with positive thoughts that encourage our healing and personal growth.

We have more control over our personal wellbeing than we give ourselves credit for. If you are determined to be unhappy no one can change that for you. Paying your bills is your responsibility but so is your attitude and point of view, which ultimately determines the extent of your happiness and plays a key role in the healing process. Taking personal responsibility for how you perceive life and the attitude you have chosen will determine the speed and success of your recovery. After all, you’re fighting for freedom from the deathly grip of addiction. As the beloved Bob Dylan said, “A Hero is somebody who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom,” and everyone is the hero of their own story.